A short history of ethical investing

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Early ethical investing was based on religious teaching. Jewish law dating to Biblical times includes the responsibility of owners to prevent immediate and potential harm, while Islamic teaching (609-632CE) has become the source for modern Shariah-compliant investment standards. Several religions, either historically or currently, have included bans on usury, the practice of lending money for interest. This is usually prohibited in Islamic finance but was also banned in medieval Christian tradition.

The Western ethical investing tradition was founded on religious roots, notably among the Methodists and Quakers. More recent developments have been in response to the Vietnam War (the 1960s), concerns about nuclear environmental damage (Three Mile Island 1979 and Chernobyl 1986), South African apartheid 1985-1993 and more recently global warming, biodiversity and plastic pollution.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Private Investor, the newsletter of the UK Shareholders' Association
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This article may be cited as: Q G Rayer (2019), A short history of ethical investing, The Private Investor, the newsletter of the UK Shareholders' Association, issue 201, August, p12-14, 16th August 2019.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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